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Ford Fiesta ECOnetic green car review

23 September 2012 by Paul Clarke

Ford Fiesta ECOnetic review Eco Facts

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Ford Fiesta ECOnetic

Model/Engine size: 1.6 TDCi 95PS Zetec

Fuel: Diesel

Fuel economy combined: 85.6mpg

Green-Car-Guide rating: 9/10

Introduction

The Ford Fiesta ECOnetic has a quite incredible official combined economy figure of 85.6mpg, which equates to 87g/km CO2 emissions – and it’s a Fiesta, which means it’s good to drive.

Amazing official combined economy of 85.6mpg

• Good to drive despite eco-tweaks

• Some other rivals are quieter and more refined

• Visual appearance handicapped by 14-inch wheels

Ford Fiesta ECOnetic road test Image of the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic

The current Fiesta model is great to drive, and now Ford has introduced a super-high economy version – the latest ECOnetic can manage 85.6mpg on the official NEDC test.

Design & Engineering

The current Fiesta model has been widely acknowledged as being good to look at and even better to drive. It has a ‘conventional’ 1.6-litre diesel engine and manual gearbox.

Inside, the dashboard still looks modern, although there are lots of small fiddly switches packed tightly together on the centre console. Some other rivals offer more interior space.

Our only main complaint about the Fiesta ECOnetic is the small 14-inch wheels. The fitment of small wheels and tyres is a key part of the car’s ability to achieve low emissions, but it means that potential owners will end up with a car that, in most people’s eyes, won’t look as good as a Fiesta from the rest of the range that you can specify with larger, better-looking alloys.

It has to be said that the black colour of our press car didn’t help with its visual appearance (even though this colour was a £495 option). There are many better colours to choose for a Fiesta.

Ford Fiesta ECOnetic Driving Experience Ford Fiesta ECOnetic Road Test

Ford Fiesta ECOnetic Driving Experience

When we drove the original Fiesta ECOnetic we were impressed by its driving dynamics, and nothing has changed with this latest model. The car combines responsive steering and sharp handling with a comfortable ride.

The Fiesta has a number of rivals that are vying for the title of highest miles per gallon supermini or city car, and in many cases the driving experience of such competitors is such that you wouldn’t want to drive them for a long distance. You’d definitely want to avoid motorways and hills – and especially a combination of motorways and hills. Not so with the Fiesta – there really are few downsides to the driving experience, and you’d be genuinely happy to take it for long A and B road journeys – when you would enjoy both the driving experience and the fuel economy that you’d achieve.

There are few other cars that combine such a high fuel economy figure with such real driveability – the Fiesta feels more stable and secure than most other green superminis. This is helped by the fact that the Fiesta has no hybrid technology, no CVT gearbox, no downsized engine – it’s just good old-fashioned diesel engine technology that has been optimised to be as efficient as possible. This gives a direct driving experience, an approach that we like, however some rivals, such as the Toyota Yaris hybrid, are quieter and more refined.

Ford Fiesta ECOnetic rear view Ford Fiesta ECOnetic Economy and Emissions

With a combined economy of 85.6mpg, and emissions of 87g/km CO2, the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic is one of the most economical cars that you can buy. The trouble with many cars that claim such far-fetched sounding figures, especially some rivals with downsized petrol engines – or indeed hybrids – is that the official mpg figures are unachievable by the average motorist in everyday driving. Our week with the Fiesta was, for us, a rather uncharacteristic driving pattern, primarily comprised of short urban journeys. We ended up with an average of 56.9mpg, which is very good for urban driving, but we would suggest that most potential owners would achieve better results. We did see over 70mpg on the few longer runs that we did.

However our suspicions about the real economy potential of the Fiesta were proved correct in the 2012 MPG Marathon, when a Fiesta ECOnetic achieved an incredible 108.78mpg in real-life driving over a 370-mile route. We would argue that it achieves such excellent economy in real-life because it has an unfashionably large 1.6-litre diesel engine – in everyday driving this provides good levels of torque so you don’t need to keep revving it to keep up with traffic – unlike many small capacity petrol and hybrid powertrains, which suffer with their fuel economy as a result.

Price, Equipment and Model Range

The ECOnetic models do have a price premium over other models in the Fiesta range. And there are other models in the Fiesta range that are cheaper, have better performance, and that will also return impressive economy figures. The ECOnetic model makes sense as a company car that is primarily used out of town. It has a benefit in kind rate of just 13%, and a potential out-of-town economy figure of 91.1mpg.

If you like the sound of a Fiesta but not the ECOnetic model, there are lots of other engines, both petrol and diesel, in the Fiesta range, and a wide range of trim options. The Fiesta range starts at £9,795 and rises to £16,795 for the Titanium ECOnetic five-door.

Conclusion

The Ford Fiesta ECOnetic combines good old-fashioned diesel engine technology with a number of tweaks to optimise its efficiency, resulting in an amazing official combined economy figure of 85.6mpg. It’s a car that has excellent driving dynamics, and as the MPG Marathon result showed, it also has the potential for incredibly impressive economy in real-life driving. The only main downsides are that it is rather noisy and it doesn’t look as good as other models in the range with larger alloys. The Ford Fiesta ECOnetic gets a Green Car Guide rating of 9 out of 10.

Ford Fiesta ECOnetic Dashboard Ford Fiesta ECOnetic boot - luggage space

Car Facts and Figures

Ford Fiesta ECOnetic Zetec data

Fuel economy extra urban: 91.1mpg

Fuel economy urban: 74.3mpg

Real-life economy on test: 56.9mpg

CO2 emissions: 87g/km

Green rating: VED band A – first year £0

Weight: 1100 Kg

Company car tax liability (2012/13): 13%

Price: £15,595

Insurance group: 11

Power: 94 bhp

Max speed: 111 mph

0-62mph: 12.9 seconds

Paul Clarke

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